United States v. Cory Melvin (3rd Cir. October 2020)

The Federal Docket

November 10, 2020

Supervised Release – A defendant seeking early termination of a term of supervised release does not have to show changed, unforeseen, or exceptional circumstances to qualify for early termination.

Cory Melvin was convicted of several firearm offenses and sentenced to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. After almost two years on supervised release, he filed a motion for early termination, arguing that he had been successfully rehabilitated and no additional time on supervised release was necessary. The district court denied his motion, finding that Melvin had failed to show “changed or extraordinary circumstances” warranting early termination of his supervised release.

On appeal, the Third Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by applying the wrong legal standard. A defendant does not have to show changed or extraordinary circumstances in order to move the court for early termination of supervised release. Under 18 USC 3583(e), a district court can terminate a term of supervised release “if it is satisfied that such action is warranted by the conduct of the defendant released and the interest of justice.”

The Court noted that it had previously held in unpublished opinions that extraordinary or unforeseen circumstances were necessary to warrant terminating a term of supervised, and clarified that, going forward, a defendant could seek early termination without showing new or exceptional circumstances.

Appeal from the District of New Jersey

Opinion by Porter, joined by Ambro and Roth

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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